Unit 3: Culture--Patterns and Processes

From the College Board: (emphasis mine)

Understanding the components and regional variations of cultural patterns and processes is critical to human geography. Students begin with the concepts of culture and cultural traits and learn how geographers assess the spatial and place dimensions of cultural groups as defined by language, religion, ethnicity, and gender, in the present as well as the past.

The course explores cultural interaction at various scales, along with the adaptations, changes, and conflicts that may result. The geographies of language, religion, ethnicity, and gender are studies to identify and analyze patterns and processes of cultural differences. Students learn to distinguish between languages and dialects, ethnic religions and universalizing religions, and fold and popular cultures, as well as between ethnic political movements. These distinctions help students understand the forces that affect the geographic patterns of each cultural characteristic.

Another important emphasis of the course is the way culture shapes relationships between humans and the environment. Students learn how culture is expressed in landscapes and how land use, in turn, represents cultural identity. Built environments enable the geographer to interpret cultural values, tastes, symbolism, and beliefs. For instance, when analyzing Amish communities in the Western Hemisphere, it is important to understand how their unique values and practices (e.g., lack of power lines to buildings and the use of preindustrial forms of transportation) influence the cultural landscape.

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